Fantasy Sports Participation and Spending Reaches Record Numbers in USA and Canada

A new research that was conducted by the Ipsos Public Affairs for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) has revealed that participation in Fantasy Sports has recently hit record breaking numbers in the USA and Canada. Complete results of the survey were unveiled at the 2015 FSTA Summer Conference and included the following conclusions.

Participation is on the rise from both American adults and teens:

According to the findings of the research, over 56.8 million people take part in traditional fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports across the USA and Canada. This marks the highest number that has been recorded in the six years that Ipsos has been conducting these tests. The study also stated that despite the regulatory challenges that the DFS industry has been tackling with over the last year, out of the 56.8 million, 15 million of the players were new to fantasy sports; having only started playing in the last year. While the player numbers have remained more or less constant in Canada, player numbers have grown by a full 40 per cent, in the USA, since a comparable test was conducted by Ipsos in 2014; the growth in the American market was represented by a 5 per cent increase in participation from adults aged 20 or over and 13 per cent increase in participation from teens aged between18 and 19, just in the space of last year.

Annual player spending on fantasy sports has grown 5 folds:

It is not just the number of fantasy sports players that have been on the rise, according to further findings of the research, adults, aged 18 and above, have been spending much more on their new found digital hobby. In 2012, the average amount one adult spent on fantasy sports in a year was USD 95; that figure has grown 500 per cent over the last four years, the average amount that each players spends on fantasy sports annually has now reached USD 465.

Mobile and emerging gadgets have become the preferred platform for fantasy sports gameplay:

Given that the average American, like rest of the developed world, is constantly glued to their smartphone and mobile devices, it is hardly surprising that they would look to those gadgets for both their work and entertainment solutions. The Ipsos study found that players preferred mobile and other emerging platforms, such as gaming consoles and internet-connected TVs for their fantasy sports gameplay, in place of the traditional desktops and laptops; 56 per cent of the survey population stated that they preferred using their handheld and other gadgets for their fantasy sporting activities.

Paul Charchian, the President of the FTSA, said, “The continuing increase in fantasy sports participation illustrates several core, engaging elements of fantasy play.”

He also added, “Fantasy sports remains a social activity, made more enjoyable when playing with friends. Our remarkable growth in the last year is fuelled by many innovations in the industry, including dramatic improvements in mobile offerings and the rise of daily fantasy sports. The surge in consumer spending is reflective of the desire to find new ways to engage in this fast-growing pastime.”

One in Five adults is exclusively taking part in Daily Fantasy Sports: The research also reported that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) leagues are gaining more popularity compared to traditional fantasy sports. In 2013 only 8 per cent of adults above the age of 18 were exclusively taking part in daily fantasy sports, the recent findings indicated that number has now grown to 1 in 5 adults or 20 per cent of the players.

Interest in sports bolstered by fantasy contests:

The Ipsos research, which also looked at the connection between sports participation, viewership and general interest in sporting activity among the survey population, found that fantasy sports players were in fact more keen on actual sporting matches because of their digital hobby. As a result of the growing popularity of fantasy sports, 61 per cent of people are watching more live sports matches and 60 per cent have admitted to reading up on sporting events to gain knowledge for their online contests. New sporting venues, such as the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, had anticipated this connection when designing the buildings and have equipped the arenas with screens and betting facilities throughout, so that fans are able to enjoy the live matches and also take part in their fantasy sports and betting habits simultaneously.

Danielle MacLean, the Research Chair at FSTA and the Director of Fantasy Sports at CBS Sports, said, “The research shows that the growth in fantasy sports is, in part, spurred by the ease of access that players now have to all things fantasy.”

He further added, “Fantasy activities have shifted dramatically to mobile devices and we are seeing growth in gaming consoles and internet-connected TVs. This isn’t only changing interest in fantasy but also in sports consumption at large with three-fifths of respondents reporting that they read about and/or watch more sports because of fantasy.”

Details of the Study

The data for the Ipsos poll, which was conducted for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, was collected between the 27th of April 2016 and the 29th of May 2016. The information was collected in two phases.

For the first phase, Phase One of the survey, a representative population of 1,212 U.S. teens and adults and 1,238 Canadian teens and adults were randomly selected from the online panel at Ipsos. The participants were first interviewed online to determine the fantasy sports market size in the USA and Canada.

For the second phase, Phase Two of the survey, a smaller representative sample of 1,000 U.S. teens and adults were randomly selected from the Ipsos online panel; they were interviewed online to assess their spending habits and playing behaviour, both for Traditional Fantasy sports and Daily Fantasy sports.

After all the interviews had been completed, the data was processed. Ipsos had to make provisions to ensure that when the data that was collected it was done in a manner which ensures that the age, gender and region composition of the sample population was an appropriate reflection of the actual American and Canadian populations, as determined by the Census information. The margin of error for the survey was ± 2.7 percentage points. However, it should be noted that all sample surveys and polls may have been subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.

About The Fantasy Sports Trade Association

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association is an Illinois based trade group that represents the fantasy sports industry. The organisation has nearly 300 member companies, which range from small start-ups to large media corporations and gaming titans. The organisation was created in 1998 and has been the voice of the industry since. The FSTA has been fighting for the rights of the industry alongside organising annual conferences, providing demographic data and aiding collective action to ensure unfettered growth of Fantasy Sports.

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a subsidiary of Ipsos, the global market research company that is headquartered in Paris, France. The company is known for providing “boutique style” customer service while working very closely with their clients to conduct research on a global scale. Ipsos Public Affairs is an unbiased, objective, survey-based research practice, which is made up of experienced professionals. They conduct a number of strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based on public opinion research, as well as elite stakeholder, corporate and media opinion research.

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